I’ve been coming up with stories for as long as I can remember, and I’ve been writing them down since my age was in the single digits. However, I’ve never worked in an audio medium before, besides reading a book aloud to my sister. But I’ve been fascinated by podcasts, like Welcome to Night Vale, that can tell a story so well and create the right ambiance through narration, music, and sound effects. I’ve had ideas for podcasts before, but none of them ever made it further than musings inside my head. Until now.
Last year I had an idea for a story, something that I immediately imagined as a podcast. Told through research notes recorded on an ancient audio device, it follows the tale of a scientist attempting to raise the dead. It’s a bit of Frankenstein mixed with some other influences—there’s an element I don’t want to spoil that comes into play later in the first season that is very much not found in Frankenstein. It takes place in an alternate version of the Victorian era, largely because I have been studying that era recently thanks to my research into John Torrington—and there will most certainly be some references to the Franklin Expedition throughout (there may even be a future member of the expedition among the cast of regular characters…).
In addition to indulging my nerdiness with random historical references and reveling in the more macabre aspects of the story, I have also used this as a way to channel some very personal issues into the main character, some issues that I feel need better representation in fiction. Earlier this year I was diagnosed with autism. This was no surprise to me—I’ve suspected it for a long time—but finally knowing for sure has helped me reframe many things in my life, and it has allowed me to understand myself better. I wanted to explore my own experience with autism with this story, as well as my experience with being asexual and gender nonconforming. These are things I don’t see often enough in fiction, and even when I do, I don’t always identify with how I see them depicted. I wanted to share my own feelings on these things, especially how they can make you feel like an outsider, like there’s something wrong—either with you or the rest of the world.
It has been a lot of fun writing this story, but writing is only the first step of the process with a podcast. I had to figure out everything else, often having to stop to learn some completely new skill just to move forward with the project. Acting, recording, editing, using sound effects, creating music and matching it up to the rest of the audio—that’s just some of it. But, after many months, I finally have a first episode I’m proud of. Is it perfect? No, but I like what I was able to accomplish with it.
Now, for the next step—marketing.
I really hate promoting myself, and I am very awkward when interacting with people—even people I want to interact with—so this is going to be the hardest part of the process. But I’m going to work on figuring it out, just like I worked on every other step. Hopefully, I can build a following. If not, at least I tried, and I learned a lot along the way.
You can find the first episode of Experiment 31E on most major podcast sites—it’s up on Apple, Spotify, Amazon, Pandora, Stitcher, and a few others (we’re still waiting on Google Podcasts, though). You can find out more, including transcripts and links to where you can follow the podcast on social media, on the official website experiment31e.com. I hope you’ll give it a try!